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New website helps ‘Missed Connections’ find each other - Brooklyn Paper

New website helps ‘Missed Connections’ find each other

NYU-Poly prof Luke DuBois has created a special website to reunite the lonely hearts on Craigslist’s Missed Connections.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Brooklyn’s version of Cupid uses e-mails instead of arrows.

Luke DuBois, a digital media whiz at NYU-Poly, has created a website that tries to reunite the lonely hearts using Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” personals by matching descriptive words from their ads.

“What if in our idle moments, the computer was searching the community to connect people?” said DuBois, who is 36 years old and single. “It may not be the best way to find love, but it’s cute.”

DuBois designed a warm and fuzzy algorithm that transforms your computer into a matchmaking machine that scours Craigslist for “Missed Connections” in hopes of linking would-be lovers who are looking for each other.

The tool links random posts from the same city and highlights any words they share in common. When two “Missed Connections” match each other closely enough, visitors to DuBois’s website are directed to the original Craigslist posts, where they can forward the links to the unsuspecting hopeless romantics.

So far, he has sent e-mail alerts to eight potential couples, but he hasn’t heard back from any of them, including a particularly close match between a salami-eating man and the woman who bummed him a cigarette.

“I think you two are looking for each other,” he wrote to each of them.

This isn’t the only time the programmer honored Valentine’s Day. Last year, he whipped up a map of the United States using 19 million online dating profiles — analyzing which cities were the kinkiest and happiest based on frequently used bons mots (Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Park Slope had the most male virgins).

Julie Spira, a Los Angeles-based online dating expert, called DuBois’s site “too computerish” for the eyes, but vowed that “Missed Connections” do work.

“You have to hope that someone is out there looking for you as well,” Spira said. “If you’re going to post something on ‘Missed Connections,’ look for them on Linked In or Facebook too, but don’t come across as a stalker. Make your communication light and easy.”

They say the course of true love never did run smooth, so it’s no surprise that DuBois’s website has some flaws.

The program can be slow, spam posts can be false alarms, and women tend to offer more detailed descriptions of their loves at first sight, while men often keep things overly simple, with postings like: “You were on the R train and you were cute.”

But DuBois is calling on Brooklynites to keep the site open.

“This is a community service experiment,” he said. “If you have a computer, tune it to the website. If everybody puts in an hour on Valentine’s Day, you can help each other with this little program. It’s not too much to ask.”

To become a “Missed Connections” middleman, visit lukedubois.com/missed. And ladies, DuBois is not only single, but gainfully employed and has an adorable cat.

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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